Rahane Field Day. Nearly 70 people converged on this busy and highly productive farm on Sunday 29th May. The property consists of 74ha rich alluvial soil along Rocky Creek and approximately 168ha rolling upland country, lightly timbered, with controlled rotational grazing on native pasture. The creek flats are used to grow irrigated pasture for their cattle fattening operation, and also grain crops like soybeans.
Large scale compost-making provides significant tonnages of biodynamic compost for Col and Jackie’s intensive pastures and cropping. Inputs to the compost at this stage are largely off-farm, but show what opportunistic effort can achieve from others’ wastes by ‘carbon thieving’ (e.g. going out and baling tonnes of that pesky Johnson grass). This scale of operation ensures that soil carbon levels are maintained and hopefully increase under their tillage regime. They also recognize the importance of diatomaceous earth, palagonite and clay in the composting process, and add copious amounts to their windrows. In an effort to reduce the carbon-depleting effect of tillage, they have been trialling pasture-cropping, and this may lower the necessity for so much compost.
Colin and Jackie’s holistic, chemical-free management technique is inspiring to contemplate, and on the day it was clear that things are in fine fettle, thanks to the application of sound advice and of a range of organic and biodynamic practices, including a field broadcaster. The cattle were sleek and healthy, a tribute to their optimum nutrition and homeopathic parasite treatments. The Clark’s tree planting efforts on the footslopes of their higher ground are to be commended, also.
Shane Joyce, John Hodgkinson, Hugh Lovel and Heinz Gugger presented information and comment, and fielded questions, as did Colin himself. At the end of the day, many of the attendees expressed their satisfaction with the field day’s proceedings, and the boxes of BAA products which were brought for sale, and the handout materials, were considerably depleted.
Are you interested in hosting a field day in your location? Contact us to discuss.